A Day Without [Feminist] Women

One is tempted to say “good riddance.”  The only impact they’re likely to make unfortunately is to hurt other women who are forced to take the day off to watch their kids who can’t go to school because so many teachers took off that schools had to be closed. Many of these women will be of lower incomes who cannot afford to miss a day of work or pay for extra childcare.  It’s also possible that some of the women who strike today will lose their jobs — tomorrow may be a repeat DayWithoutJobs (as it was for those immigrants who decided to take the day off without permission).  I’ve seen several comments saying this could actually help businesses weed out the crazies – ‘ah, they’ve identified themselves; that makes it easy to pick who’ll be in this next lay-off!’

According to protest spokeswoman Cassady Findlay:

the action is aimed at highlighting the effect of women on the country’s socio-economic system and would demonstrate how the paid and unpaid work of women keeps households, communities and economies running.

“We provide all this value and keep the system going, and receive unequal benefits from it,” Findlay said.

Findlay said it is important for white women to be in solidarity with minority women… “It’s when women of all backgrounds strike and stand together that we’re really going to see the impact.”

Unlike the Women’s March, Wednesday’s protest focuses on the absence of women, who are being steered to local rallies and community groups and away from work or shopping in stores or online. Organizers also are asking women to wear red to signify love and sacrifice.

What exactly do they mean by “unpaid work”? Homemakers and stay-at-home moms?  So you’re going to not bother to feed your children today?  Let the kids run in the street so you can lie on the couch snacking and binge-watching Netflix?  Let your home become a pigsty?  This proves what exactly?  How is this supporting any cause?

Most families do appreciate the women who help to run things and take care of them.  Ask most men and they’ll express gratitude for what their wives do (and insist they’re very happy they don’t have to do those things!).  Sure, sometimes women are taken for granted in domestic settings, but how often does anyone, female or male, get praised to high heaven for the work they are expected to do for their jobs?  The unequal benefits women supposedly receive for their work is a feminist propaganda point that has been disproved so many times it’s like beating a dead horse at this point.  Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers goes over the facts again here.

How about about wearing red to signify love and sacrifice?  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  But how does spitefully refusing to do your jobs (whatever they may be) and ignoring your responsibilities prove your worth  or demonstrate love and sacrifice?  Selfish whining, self-importance, and grown-up (sort of) versions of temper tantrums sound like the opposite of love and sacrifice to me.

Despite platitudes about solidarity among women, let’s not forget that women of all backgrounds aren’t actually welcome in this protest.

It’s being billed as “A Day Without a Woman,” but apparently only pro-union, pro-choice, anti-Israel women who can afford to skip work need apply… Like the Women’s March, however, the event is embedded with political messages that many women may find objectionable.

The Day Without a Woman manifesto includes strong support for unions, a “living wage,” “fair pay” and “solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement,” without explaining what those policies entail.

One of the group’s premier partners is Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which effectively shuts out pro-life women, said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

“Does Planned Parenthood, a main sponsor of the Women’s March, approve the closing of schools and putting unnecessary burdens on women, especially working mothers who rely on a regular school schedule?” said Ms. Hawkins. “Are they OK with children from low-income families who will go hungry on Wednesday? Women’s empowerment shouldn’t rely on putting other women and children in precarious situations just to make a point.”

Aside from the slew of parents complaining about school closures, there have been plenty of other criticisms.  One writer claims that ‘A Day Without a Woman’ is a strike for privileged protesters:

Make no mistake, March 8 will mostly be a day without women who can afford to skip work, shuffle childcare and household duties to someone else, and shop at stores that are likely to open at 10 and close at 5. As for wearing red, what is the dress code, exactly? Are you supposed to wear your pink pussy hats, too?

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A Day Without a Woman seems especially poised for unquantifiable results, given the diffuse nature of its platform.

 Any male who complains about having to pick up the slack left by striking/boycotting women can count on plenty of eye-rolling invocations of the popular refrain “I Drink Male Tears.”

Meanwhile, for the millions of women who have no choice but to show up and meet their responsibilities on March 8 (and every day), it will be business as usual.

Which, when you stop to think about it, is kind of the point, isn’t it? At least it should be. We are nearly half the labor force now. We are just as important in the workplace and to our families’ fiscal welfare as men. All things being equal (which is what we’re after, right?), we are too essential to play hooky.

That’s why the idea that women should take a day off en masse to make a political point is both self-defeating and vaguely insulting. It’s meant to highlight how crucial we are, but its very premise also suggest the opposite: Women are expendable. A Day Without a Woman plays into the idea that we entered the workforce not to support ourselves and our families but to combat boredom or to boost our self-esteem. For all but a very few affluent women, that’s never been the case.

Demonstrating yet again that they don’t actually care about real women, their children or their families, privileged feminists Strike and March and Protest to end imaginary wrongs. They don’t even have concrete objectives or policy suggestions to end these supposed injustices, much less notice or care about the true injustices in the world today.

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Worst Article for Expectant Moms

I recently saw this article, Mom’s Message About Her Baby’s Death: “If I Had Given Him Just 1 Bottle, He’d Still Be Alive, posted with the recommendation to share it with all new and expectant parents.  That has got to be the absolutely worst advice ever.  The article is of questionable veracity – there is something very fishy about it.  The link is titled “baby dies from cluster breastfeeding” and claims that this couple, “Jillian and her husband thought that they were doing everything in their power to prepare themselves. ‘We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books. We were ready! Or so we thought'” and yet somehow their baby dies at 10 days old:

After getting home, Landon fell asleep while cluster feeding and became unresponsive with no pulse, and turned blue. After 15 days on life support, the newborn passed away. “The best advice I was given by one of his NICU doctors while he was on life support is ‘Sure breast is best, but follow with the bottle,'” she wrote. “This way you know your baby has eaten enough. If only I could go back in time.”

Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, an emergency physician with a background in newborn brain injury research at Brown University, explained how Landon died as a result of dehydration, which was followed by cardiac arrest caused by brain injury:

“Constant, unsatisfied nursing and inconsolable crying are two of the signs of newborn starvation that lead to brain-threatening complications. If a child is receiving a fraction of their caloric requirement through early exclusive breastfeeding, they can experience severe hunger and thirst, which is why they will cry inconsolably and breastfeed continuously when it is the only source of calories and fluid they are offered. If a mother’s colostrum does not meet the child’s caloric requirement, they will breastfeed for hours a day in an attempt to relieve their hunger. A child who is “cluster-feeding” may actually burn more calories breastfeeding than they receive in return, which can result in fasting conditions and accelerated weight loss.”

Five years later, his mom is still dealing with endless guilt and questions what her life be now if she had just known to give him a bottle.

So here’s my take as someone who spent years keeping up-to-date on pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding best evidence-based practices and sharing them with expectant and new moms:

a) If the parents had known to watch wet and dirty diapers, there is no way this baby could have died of dehydration.  If there is enough coming out, then there is enough going in. If the parents were at all educated about newborns and breastfeeding, they would have known this. Unless there is some other rare or unusual medical issue going on with the baby that isn’t addressed in the article (if indeed anyone even bothered to figure it out).  I’m not sure how this can be seen as anything other than tragic parental ignorance or some very strange underlying medical issue.  Or there’s a lot more to the story than is being reported.

b) Sounds like this could be a problem of medical neglect/incompetence, because they should have made sure the baby was getting enough nourishment/liquids.  Hospitals normally keep track of these things when mom and baby are there after delivery and are usually prompt in pushing bottles if they suspect baby’s not getting enough.  Where were her release instructions telling her what to watch for (they typically include signs of dehydration) and how to tell if the baby was getting enough?  Where was her follow-up visit with a pediatrician after baby was discharged from the hospital?  Why wasn’t anyone weighing this baby to see if weight loss stopped at 10% and started to pick back up?  Why wasn’t there a lactation consultant telling her to pump if it seemed she wasn’t producing enough or if the baby wasn’t getting enough?

c) The advice given by the NICU Doctor,”sure breast is best, but follow with the bottle,” is terrible advice for normal situations.  For a normal mother/baby pair this advice may well spell the early and unnecessary end of breastfeeding.  It is possible that this advice was appropriate to this particular mother, but her situation was clearly not normal.  Sifting the normal situations from the abnormal ones is why people include medical professionals in the process of birth and breastfeeding at all.  Otherwise, if all situations were normal, they would be entirely unnecessary.  The quoted emergency doctor’s statements are also problematic to be sharing with expectant parents.  What she says might have been true in this situation, but just isn’t good advice for most parents.  Whether a baby is crying “too much” is really subjective.  Some babies come out screaming and don’t stop for years (only a slight exaggeration) even though there is nothing physically wrong with them.  This is why many midwives and doctors tell new moms to call/visit if they are worried, if they think something might be wrong.  It doesn’t hurt to check, though most of the time nothing will be wrong.  Also cluster feeding and newborns nursing “constantly” can also be completely normal.  When a baby is born he has a stomach the size of a marble.  It doesn’t take much to fill it up, and it needs to be filled pretty frequently.  Breastfeeding for “hours a day” is normal for a newborn.  Those are well-established facts.

This mother’s guilt, and the likely malpractice of her care providers, may make it attractive to blame breastfeeding for her baby’s death rather than looking at what the real reasons might be.  Breastfeeding doesn’t kill babies; it sustains them.  We’re mammals; how else would the human race have continued to exist for thousands of years before the invention of man-made substitutes?

Sharing inaccurate and fear-mongering articles with expectant mothers, especially first-time moms, will only freak them out and possibly cause them to make fear-based decisions, rather than evidence-based ones for their babies’ care and feeding.  Spreading this around doesn’t do anyone any favors.  Including these bereaved parents.

Causes for the Entitlement Epidemic

Are today’s children over-indulged and over-protected?  Does this at least in part explain what’s wrong with today’s overly-entitled young adults?  And why they need “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings?”

Vitamin N makes a lot of sense.  There’s social science to back this up and I think many people have seen it first hand too.

Sticks and Stones – I think there’s a need for balance on this one.  Some protection and helping kids deal with the cruelty of others is needed.  You can’t just abandon them to their own devices; they are kids after all with a lot of maturing to do.  I’m wondering what other causes there may be for some people growing up a lot tougher and more resilient than others.